Showing posts with label hope. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hope. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Ghost Tour of Granbury, Texas

In honor of Weird Wednesday, here's a story about a recent experience I had and the strange tales I heard.



Map showing Granbury, TX marked with the G

My husband and I took a fascinating ghost legend tour. The setting was historic Granbury southwest of Fort Worth. (See map. FYI I live in Wichita Falls to the north) Downtown consists of a square around a beautiful court house. Gift shops and snack places line one side. An opera house and restaurant holds down another side. A theatre with exciting music is the focus on yet another side. The fourth includes the Nut House Hotel.
The Nut House Hotel

 

Our guide is dressed in period costume to set the mood. His knowledge of Granbury’s history and ghosts is phenomenal. He keeps us enthralled for about an hour.

 

The Nut House Hotel is of particular interest. A long-ago cook, named Mary Lou Watkins lived in room four. Ask anyone who has stayed there. She’s still there in spirit.

 

On the right front corner looking from the court house, we learned about a ghost that leaves playing cards to remind others that he’s still around.

 

Our guide told us about John Wilkes Booth. He lived for awhile in Granbury. His ghost still shows up at the opera house.

 

The ghost of Indian Joe makes appearances at the jail on the back right corner. We shudder as we watch him swing from the noose.

 

A girl lost her life leaning too far over a balcony. We look up at that balcony. The tension is strong. We almost hear the circus that she wanted so badly to see. Often, this faceless girl appears in the window.

 

If you’re interested, here’s the link about the ghost tour.


 

They don’t guarantee you’ll see a ghost, but not many that walk that square with the guide, Boots Hubbard, miss spotting some spooky sites.

 

Don’t forget to get your ghost sucker when you leave.

 
Have any of you went on a ghost tour before? Heard a ghost? Remember a local legend? If so, please contact me. Weird Wednesday on the Writing with God's Hope blog is always looking for new stories.
 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

What Does Your Home Say About You?

     Mementos adorn every area of my house. They’re a part of me and speak volumes of who I am. I like to think my house reflects hope as my writing strives to do.

 

Plates painted by my 2 youngest & a bear picture painted by the oldest -both at age 8-9

     My three daughters are precious. Memories from their childhood grace several rooms. I cherish each and remember where it was made and which girl made it. Come Christmas, our tree sports decorations made by our daughters. No faddish tree will do for me.

 

Pictures adorn every table, desk, and wall in this place; children and grandchildren at different ages. If you give me a vacant, spot, I’ll fill it. I add extra shelves to hold new treasures. I look for new ways to display art.

 

History speaks to me. Things from my past hold a place in my heart. This pitcher set was given to my grandmother when she married my grandfather, so it’s somewhere around 75 years old. I don’t do genealogy, but years ago, when wondering where I got my love of writing, I met a cousin of my mother who wrote poetry.

 

 
Friends are important. I may never travel to England or Australia, but I have souvenirs from there given to me by gracious friends. I have visited fields of bluebonnets, but none any more beautiful than a picture painted by a friend.

London souvenir from my English friend, Anne
from Australia. Thank you, Madeleine, my online writing friend.
 


painted by a dear friend now gone to heaven
Stacks of papers and books make up my husband’s “black hole.” I dust around them, but I never remove them. That’s his territory, a reminder of the wonderful man that shares my home.

 

Sayings stuck on mirrors, pictures, or cabinets remind me of things I tend to forget, but shouldn’t. One is entitled "Memories." Another says "move it or lose it." The one stuck on the bluebonnet picture above says "It's never too late to be who you might've been."

 

The Bible I’m studying at the present sets beside my place at the dining table for easy pick-up to read after I eat.

 

My writing corner. The plaque above it says "Lo, I am with you always - Jesus
 
 
 
 
 
 
A junky study overflows with books, papers, and file cabinets highlighting the computer where I pour out my heart through my fingers.


 
What’s in your house, condo, or apartment? What does it tell the onlooker about you?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

THE CHRISTMAS GEESE

     Once there was a man who didn't believe in Jesus, and he didn't hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays like Christmas and Easter. His wife, however, was a believer and raised their children to have faith in God and Jesus.

     One snowy Christmas Eve, his wife was taking their children to a Christmas Eve service in the farm community in which they lived.  She asked him to come, but he refused. "That story is nonsense," he said, "Why would God lower Himself to come to earth as a man?"

     So, she and the children left, and he stayed home.  Awhile later the winds grew stronger, and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding snowstorm. He sat to relax before the fire for the evening. Then, he heard a loud thump. Something had hit the window. Then, another thump, He looked out but couldn't see more than a few feet. When the snow let up a little, he ventured outside to see what could have been beating on the window.

      In a field near his house, he saw a flock of wild geese  Apparently, they had gotten caught in the snowstorm and were lost, and a couple of them had flown into his window. They were stranded on the farm with no food or shelter. They just flapped their wings and flew around his field, blindly and aimlessly.

     The man felt sorry for the geese and wanted to help them. His barn would be a great place for them to stay. It was safe and warm, and they could spend the night there and wait out the storm. So he walked over to the barn and opened the doors wide, then watched and waited, hoping they woud notice the open barn and go inside.

     But, the geese just fluttered around and did not seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean to them. The man tried to get their attention, but that just seemed to scare them, and they moved further away. He went into the house and came back with some bread, broke it up, and made a trail of breadcrumbs leading into the barn. They still didn't catch on. The man was getting frustrated.

     He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only became more scared and scattered in every direction. Nothing he did got them to go into the barn where they would be safe and warm. "Why don't they follow me," he exclaimed. "Can't they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm?"

     He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn't follow a human. "If only I were a goose, then I could save them," he said out loud. Then he had an idea. He went into the barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese. He then released his goose. It flew through the flock and straight into the barn. One by one, the wild geese followed it to safety.

      The man stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed in his mind, "If only I were a goose, then I could save them." He thought about what he had said to his wife earlier. "Why would God lower Himself to come to earth as a man?" Suddenly, it all made sense. That is exactly what God had done.

     We were like the geese--blind, lost, perishing. God had His Son become like us, so He could show us the way to be saved

     The man realized this was the meaning of Christmas. As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet .  He contemplated that thought. This was why Christ had come. Years of doubt and unbelief vanished like the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow and prayed his first prayer. "Thank You, God, for coming in human form to save me from the storm. 

                                                                                                         Author unknown

     A sweet friend of mine sent us a Christmas card with this story enclosed. I had not heard the Christmas geese story, but found it touched my heart. I pondered this example of Christ being the reason for the season. Posting it today is my Christmas gift to those who follow my blog.

     Thank you, all, for stopping by. I appreciate you.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Mary L. Hamilton's debut novel, HEAR NO EVIL

My sweet friend, Mary Hamilton visits Writing with God's Hope blog today.

 Since her debut novel  released four days ago, (Big congrats to Mary) I asked her if she would allow her book's main character to come and answer some of our questions. She was kind enough to allow him to have his say.

So, let me introduce Brady McCaul.
Hello, Brady,     
This is Brady's home.

Hello.

Your dad left when you were only seven. How did that affect you?

Dad was never around much anyway. He always acted like work was more important to him than me. I missed him but Mom spent a lot of time with me. She tried to make up for Dad not being there. Mom made me feel loved and secure in the days after Dad left. I’m an only child, so Mom and I spent a lot of time talking and hanging out together.

It must have been devastating when she left you at camp.

After Dad left, I often wondered what I’d do if something happened to Mom, but I never, ever imagined she’d say she didn’t want me anymore. I was shocked. I had no clue what I’d done to make her not love me anymore. It was embarrassing to know other people heard it, but my counselor, Matt, was really cool about helping me out and not making me feel worse.

Matt looked out for you pretty well during the week, didn’t he?

He’s a great counselor. Matt always seemed to know what I was thinking, but he kept it between the two of us. I’m sorry I didn’t take him up on his offer to talk things out. But of course the best thing he did was introduce me to Steven. 

You and Steven developed a strong friendship. What do you admire about him?

Steven’s cool. He’s so confident, even though he can’t see anything. He’s also pretty laid-back, doesn’t get all freaked out over stuff. And he’s loyal. He defended me even though it meant he’d get teased, too.

What about Claire?

Claire is almost the opposite of Steven. She’s a fighter. Whether it’s a game or real life, I want her on my side. (And not just because she’s cute.)

Why do you think Taylor picked on you so much?

He’s pretty much a jerk to everyone. But after what Mom said, I was really unsure of myself. I think he picked up on that and figured I was an easy target. I reacted every time he said or did something. That’s what he wanted. He liked having the power to irritate me.

At one time, you thought God would never call your name. How has your idea of God changed since being at camp?

I didn’t really know God. I only knew about him, and even the things I thought I knew weren’t always true. Now I know that God calls each of us by name. He wants us to know him like we know our best friend. I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m learning to know God as a personal friend and not just some grandfather-type image in a book.
 
Now, that we've learned a bit about Brady, can you tell us something about your creator, Mary Hamilton?
 
Mary L. Hamilton grew up at a camp much like the setting for her Rustic Knolls Bible Camp series. She started out writing articles for magazines, and a Christmas play, Homespun Angel. Her faith is a strong influence in her life and writing. When she’s not writing, Mary loves the outdoors and nature, as well as opening her home to youth Bible studies, pancake suppers and breakfast with her special recipe waffles. She and her husband live near Houston, TX, within range of her three grown children.
How to connect with Mary
Twitter: @mhamilton122
 

So there you have it. Run, don't walk to purchase your copy of Hear No Evil.
 
Summer camp is no fun for Brady McCaul. The girl with the cute dimples thinks he’s immature and childish. The camp bully targets him with cruel taunts and teasing, and flips Brady’s canoe to keep him from winning the race. But worst of all, his mom won’t let him come home. She doesn’t want him living with her anymore. Brady wonders if even God cares about him.
Can Brady figure out what he did to earn Mom’s rejection and change her mind by week’s end? Or will he have to live with his workaholic dad, the guy who left when Brady was seven? All seems lost until a surprising secret changes everything. 
 
Thank you,  Mary L. Hamilton for stopping by today and telling us about Hear No Evil. The book sounds great for tweens and adults alike. Also, thank you, Brady. I enjoyed making your acquaintance.
 
 Mary tells me you may purchase Hear No Evil on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Interview with Donna Clark Goodrich

Today, my Writing with God's Hope blog welcomes author, proofreader, editor, speaker Donna Clark Goodrich. I met Donna online through the Christian Writers Fellowship International. I ordered and read her book about keeping up with a writer's income tax liability. Realizing I knew little about her, I asked her to visit with us today.
 
 
1.  Tell us a little about yourself.

 
I was born in Jackson, Michigan and moved to Kansas City when I was 20 to take a job as secretary to the book editor at the Nazarene Publishing House. Met my husband, who was a student at Nazarene Theological Seminary, when I typed his term paper. We got engaged 3 weeks after we met and have been married for 53 years. He pastored 1 year in Michigan, then we moved back to Jackson for 3 years, coming to Arizona in 1969 because of his health. We have 1 son and 2 daughters, one is married to a minister and they live in Cushing, Oklahoma, with our 2 granddaughters. My husband has been on disability since his heart attack at the age of 48, and now has 12 different diseases he is dealing with.

  2.  Sounds like God has led you through a lot. Tell us a little about your writing journey.  


 I've always loved to write. Wrote my first 2 poems at the age of 9--one for Mother's Day and one for Veteran's Day (our pastor put it in the church bulletin). Sold my first poem at 14 (for $1.40) and my first short story to our church S.S. paper at 18 (for $12). After I began work at the publishing house and got to know a lot of the editors, I started selling more. Sold my first book in 1971--a puzzle book, 3 devotional books in 1972, then it took off after that. Most have been devotional books, 2 cookbooks, a biography, 2 secular how-to books with John Wiley & Sons, self-help books, and compiled and edited 3 anthologies.
3. You've been writing for a long time. I probably have viewers who, like me, are saying, "I'd like to read the poems, or see the cookbook."  Your writing encompasses varied subjects. Did you ever feel like giving up?  And how did you press through this?

 
The one depressing time I remember was when I broke my wrist and had a cast on for 4 months. I thought, "Now I have time to write," sent out dozens of things, sat back, and waited for responses. They came; 12 rejections in one day. I threw them on the floor and told my husband, "I quit, I'm not writing anymore." And it seemed God spoke to me, "I just want you to use this time to get close to Me." I have so many things I still want to write, I don't think I'll ever really quit.
.
 

 4.  Tell us about your latest book.
I'd like to tell about my two latest ones. For years I wanted something to offer to people who called and said, "I want to be a writer. How do I get started?" So I took all the material I've been teaching in workshops over the years and put it in book form. It came out 2 years ago under the title: A Step in the Write Direction--the Complete How-to Book for Christian Writers. I also brought out a second, similar student edition with assignments throughout....The second book The Freedom of Letting Go came about after it took me 11 years to let go of my mother after she died. When I was finally to do that, I realized it wasn't just letting go of her; it was the whole principle of letting go of the past. The book covers such things as: letting go of grief, success, failure, material things, children, your youth, people who have hurt you, etc., and then ends with "The Land Beyond Letting Go." I also speak on this subject at different churches.
 


5.  How do you feel this book will help readers?
The writing book will help beginning writers get started, and encourage advanced writers to keep going. There are also chapters on income taxes for writers, Microsoft Word hints, collaborating with other writers, etc. ... The Letting Go book will help people "forget those things which are behind and press forward."
 
.    6. What other writing-related careers will we find on your resume?
 I teach my own one- and two-day workshops across the U.S. (just need a location and a registrar), teach at other conferences, and I also proofread and edit manuscripts for writers and publishers.
7.     If your writing resembled a song, what would that song be?
"For all that You've done I will thank You, for all that You're going to do. For all that You've promised and all that You are is all that has carried me through. Jesus, I thank You."  The songwriter is Dennis Jernigan.
 
8.     Anything more you'd like to add?
 The following quotation changed my life. Up to that time I had sold 4 books and over 200 manuscripts, but writing was just a hobby for me. Then I heard Harold Ivan Smith say, "We are called to write and I feel we will be held responsible at the Judgment for the people we could have helped but didn't because we didn't write what God laid on our hearts to write." That took writing out of the hobby category for me and made it a calling. I feel I'm as called to write as a preacher is called to preach.

     9. I will remember that quote. So inspirational How can readers find you?
My web site is:  www.thewritersfriend.net  and I write a blog for writers every Monday morning at http://donna-goodrich.blogspot.com  I'll send it automatically via email to anyone who requests it. Email me at: dgood648@aol.com It includes a personal update, a Thought for the Day, a Laugh for the Day, and Writer's Hints (including answering questions sent in).
 
 
Wow, Donna, I've learned so much. I never knew you worked for the Nazarene Publishing House. I was raised in a Nazarene church and have published short stories in Standard, so that publisher is close to my heart.  Thanks for stopping by and answering my questions.
 
After talking with Donna, I ordered both of these books. Since I teach a weight loss class, I know I'll use the principles of The Freedom of Letting Go there. I'm more than halfway through reading A Step in the Write Direction. Watch for my review on that book on October 6 on http://www.bookstowriteby.blogspot.com  Three other writers and I take turns reviewing books, especially books on the craft of writing. We also view websites, newsletters, conferences, and some fiction books, anything that helps writers.
 
Thank you, Donna, for visiting with us today. I'm eager to delve into the other book. Reader, if you have further questions or comments for Donna, or for me, leave a comment. Also notice on the side of this page where you can sign up as a follower for Writing with God's Hope blog. Every Saturday, I post. I write devotions, author interviews, weight loss tips, and sometimes, plain fun stuff.
 
 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sneak Peek at my Sequel

This week, 4RV Publishing and I signed a contract for a sequel to my inspirational YA, Victoria and the Ghost. We're looking at a release date in May or June, 2014.

For those who have read the first book, you'll remember mean girl, Shelley, who's country born and bred. The sequel tells her story.

                                       A Ghost for Shelley



A guilt-ridden country girl, forced to move to Dallas, confronts betrayal, arrest, and a loss of faith but meets a jet-set jock with a heart for God, and a ghost with a message just for her.

 
Guilt lassoes country girl, SHELLEY HALVERSON, reminding her of the snide remarks, gossip, and deceit from her past. If she could hurt herself, she might forget.

The only one who seems to care is COLSON CONNELLY, but who can trust him? He’s popular, rich, handsome, and everything she's not.

Thank you, 4RV. Looking forward to getting out this story for teens and adults.

Watch next year for the release date.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Recovering Food Addict

Twenty years ago I entered the room at 250 lbs to join a group the leader called Christian Weight Controllers. For the previous thirty years, I'd been on more diets and indulged in more binges than the many mosquitos that stormed me during a Texas summer.

My hope faltered.

My faith drooped.

The words I heard during that meeting filled me with guilt and drove me to the nearest convenience store for a package of Reese's candy treats. I decided to quit, but God nagged my conscience and nudged me with a glimmer of trust.

I attended the second meeting. A sweet, older lady named Sister Stack sat beside me. "I'm so glad you're here. I prayed for you this week," she said.

At that point, I knew that I must give up, quit fighting, and ask God to do it for me.

He did.

One of the things I did in the beginning was write three goals, three reasons I'd like to lose weight.


Top of Lower Falls (our goal)
Here was my three:
     1. Good health
     2. Increased self esteem
     3. Be able to climb mountains

Now, that last one might make you laugh, but here's my story. My husband and I love the mountains and go there nearly every year. When my mother was alive, we took her with our family. One trip was one of humiliation--mine.

My husband, three daughters, and 78-year-old mother, and I climbed a mountain. I took twice as long as anyone else and arrived with a racing heart, heavy breathing, and red face. My mother had no problems. I broke into tears and never wanted to try to climb a mountain again. Only, I really wanted to climb one. I longed to be that fit. I never lost that dream.

Today, I live my dream.  
Lower Falls at a distance

 I maintain a weight of 155 lbs and keep up activity every day. On our summer trip to Yellowstone National Park, my husband and I hiked to the lower falls of  the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.  The trail, steep and rocky, led us 3/4 mile down to the top of the falls to outstanding scenery. Then, we climbed back up the 3/4 mile. Most of the climbers were much younger than us, but it felt good to stretch our abilities. Yes, I had to stop to catch my breath several times, but I made it and I was proud.

My motivation to make that hike showed up my true identity; that of a recovering food addict. I wanted to make the climb so I could eat more and not gain weight. We laughed about that, but, hey, it worked.

Do you have any experiences with recovering from food addiction or compulsive overeating?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Tycoon and the Texan by Phylliss Miranda

Today, I'm excited to welcome to Writing with God's Hope blog my good friend and excellent writer, Phyliss Miranda. Her new e-book released just two days ago. Today, Phyliss lets us in on a secret or two and introduces us to our new best hero. Thanks for visiting with us, Phyliss.

I’m honored to introduce you to Nicodemus Dartmouth, my hero, in my September 5th eKensington release The Tycoon and the Texan.
 
Before we begin with the interview, I’d like to give you the background on both how I selected the plot and Nick’s last name. I truly believe it was a gift from above.
 
My husband and I have friends who we’ve known for over forty years and vacationed with since their boys and our girls were young. 
 
In 2002, my DH and I were on our way to meet them in Florida when we received a call, thank goodness for cell phones, that Harry had emergency heart surgery. He was in a coma, and the future was uncertain.  We immediately turned our car north and headed for Dartmouth Medical Center where he laid critically ill for weeks.  We were determined not to leave until he and Pat were safely home under their own roof.  And, that we did. 
 
One day while sitting in the waiting room, my attention was drawn to a show on TV, you know the ones up in the corner of the room where you have to crane your neck to see and can barely hear. The show pertained to a foundation’s auction of bachelors for charity.  That seeded the idea for a story about a strong, multi-millionaire who ends up buying an ugly duckling at his own foundation’s charity ball. Of course, she had to be from Texas and his name had to be as strong and willful as my character, so Nicodemus Dartmouth was born.
 
Now nearly ten years and many vacations together later, my story The Tycoon and the Texan came out recently and needless to say I dedicated it to our dearest friends.  
 
Let’s get on with learning more about Nicodemus Dartmouth. I’m gonna let him tell you about himself first, and then he’ll answer some questions.
 
I don’t really like being referred to as a tycoon because I see myself as just another hardworking man in his 30’s. I have to admit being a product of a wealthy, widowed mother, who I don’t always see eye-to-eye with, did have its benefits. I worked my fingers to the bone to establish one of the largest construction firms on the west coast, while being CEO of  Mother’s charity ... the Elliott-Dartmouth foundation.  I own a Double A baseball farm team and love to workout with my players.  Mother is pretty well appalled when I show up at the office with bloody road rash showing through a tear in my baseball pants.  By the way, Josie, the Foundation Director and mother hen, thinks I belong in the dog pound. I have one supporter in the organization, well most of the time, and that’s McCall Johnson, who used to be my secretary at the construction company until I transferred her over to the foundation when I found myself crawling up twenty stories of red iron thinking about her.
 
 
Now back to the charity auction that Phyliss mentioned. Mother thought it was a grand idea to auction off bachelorettes, while I told her from the start is was a bad, really bad idea.  She called me into the office to go over the final arrangements, including the table decorations.  I need to be out at the construction company offices arranging for a shipment of material we don’t need to be shipped to Habitat for Humanity, but no I’m standing here looking at a bunch of flowers stuffed in a vase. I won’t even tell you what I think about them because Mother sure didn’t approve of my description.
 
The auction was a nightmare, just as I had predicted, although it raised a lot of money for the foundation ... a good bit coming from me.
 
The jinx I apparently put on the event began when one of the bachelorettes called in sick and our resident Texan McCall Johnson was forced to step in.  In an unexpected turn of events, and I have to admit a bit of jealousy on my part to boot, I ended up paying what McCall called “a vulgar” amount for a week long date with her.
 
That began our adventures ... seven days to Texas.
 
I wanted so badly to show her that our lives weren’t that much different, but at every turn, I hit a roadblock.  From nearly cutting my finger off trying to prepare dinner for her on my private boat to seeing a ghost of Harris Grade coming out of Lompoc, California, something got in my way of showing her that I don’t get everything I want, although she thinks I do.
 
It took me the full seven days, plus some, while visiting her Granny’s ranch in Texas, but I finally succeeded at showing the independent, spirited, uprooted Texan that our lives aren’t as different as it might seem, only to find that we are more alike than I ever dreamed ... including our secrets.
 
I hope you’ll go buy The Tycoon and the Texan by native Texan, Phyliss Miranda, so you can learn more about me and Miss McCall Johnson.  By the way, if I have my way, she won’t be a Miss much longer.
 

 
 Thank you, Phyliss, for visiting with us today. I urge others to grab that book soon.  I've read several of Phyliss' yarns. Her writing is strong, and her characters believable. I loved the background on how the story came to be.
 
Leave a comment if you have a question or comment about Phyliss or her story.